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Author Topic: My print is too dark - and I *have* calibrated and profiled  (Read 6081 times)
SunnyUK
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« on: November 19, 2012, 09:51:30 AM »
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I've managed to get my new NEC Spectraview 271W calibrated and profiled (using the European NEC Spectraview Profiler software and a Colormunki Photo hardware).  I used gamma 2.2, D65 and 140 cd/m.

I have also profiled my Epson 2880 printer using Colormunki Photo.

Finally I watched the LuLa color management videos and replicated Michael's and Jeff's setup for soft proofing in Photoshop CS5.

Much to my pleasure compared to the bad old days of just a week ago, colours actually match now between the monitor and the printer. Yehaw! That's a great result.

But the prints still come out somewhat darker than the softproof on the screen.

Any good tips about what should be my next steps to get things to match better luminosity-wise?

Thanks in advance for any help.
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Tim Lookingbill
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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2012, 10:43:01 AM »
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Take a shot of your studio display and lighting setup you view your prints with the print being lit by that light while showing the Soft Proof preview on the display and post that image here.

If you don't do this, it's a waste of time. Everyone has different interpretations on what considered a "dark" print while at the same time not letting us see just how much light the print is being lit by.

Other than that get the print closer to your viewing light.

See this thread as well...

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=70438.0
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digitaldog
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« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2012, 10:56:29 AM »
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But the prints still come out somewhat darker than the softproof on the screen.
Any good tips about what should be my next steps to get things to match better luminosity-wise?

Lower or raise either until you get a visual match.

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/why_are_my_prints_too_dark.shtml
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Andrew Rodney
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rhahm
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« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2012, 06:52:06 PM »
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 this is my first post to this forum - hope this helps :



  1.  using Photoshop create a duplicate layer of your finished photo

  2.  make sure this is the top layer

  3.  set the blend mode of this duplicate layer to "Screen"

  4.  set the opacity of this layer to ~ 25-30%

  5.  print and be amazed


(this tip is credited to Matt Kloskowski from NAPP)

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Tim Lookingbill
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« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2012, 08:09:54 PM »
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Nice tip.

Just tried it.

It appears to apply a linear scaling while lightening the image especially in the highlights compared to lightening the image using the middle slider in Levels.

I did both to a duplicate file and copy/pasted onto the Screen Blend version and toggled preview off/on.

The Screen Blend preserves clarity throughout the entire image.

NICE!

Wish I could do that in one move in ACR.

Thanks for the tip.
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elliot_n
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« Reply #5 on: November 19, 2012, 08:17:47 PM »
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Work with a white canvas in Photoshop...
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walter.sk
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« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2012, 09:18:55 AM »
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  1.  using Photoshop create a duplicate layer of your finished photo
  2.  make sure this is the top layer
  3.  set the blend mode of this duplicate layer to "Screen"
  4.  set the opacity of this layer to ~ 25-30%
  5.  print and be amazed
This sounds like a good workaround, but why not complete the calibration process by matching the luminance of the monitor to the viewing situation first, as suggested by DigitalDog?  Until you have done that, you have not finished setting up your softproofing environment.  Once you have done that, you know that you can depend on more effective and accurate (never perfect, of course) softproofing.  I speak from experience.  It is really very, very reassuring to know that my hard work on images will produce consistent results.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2012, 10:29:49 AM »
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This sounds like a good workaround, but why not complete the calibration process by matching the luminance of the monitor to the viewing situation first, as suggested by DigitalDog?  Until you have done that, you have not finished setting up your softproofing environment.  Once you have done that, you know that you can depend on more effective and accurate (never perfect, of course) softproofing.  I speak from experience.  It is really very, very reassuring to know that my hard work on images will produce consistent results.

Exactly. You don't need this kludge if you just get the two items to visually match. If the image looks too dark on-screen, then use that technique or similar to fix the master (I'd never let it get out of Lightroom this way where layers are moot).
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Andrew Rodney
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SunnyUK
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« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2012, 02:14:29 PM »
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Thank you very much for all the input. This is great!

Quote from: tlooknbill
If you don't do this, it's a waste of time. Everyone has different interpretations on what considered a "dark" print while at the same time not letting us see just how much light the print is being lit by.

Here's an example (pardon the mess)


20121120-_TP50991 by sunnyUK, on Flickr

The room is lit by 4 halogen bulbs overhead, two of which are bounced off a white wall. They are not daylight bulbs.

The problem with the prints is most easily seen in the shadow detail (or rather, the lack of shadow detail on the print). I have also watched the print outdoor in "real" daylight, and the shadows are also way darker there than on-screen.

Thank you for the very interesting thread about daylight bulbs. I will have to look into that in more detail when/if I get a separate room for my photo work.

Quote from: digitaldog
Lower or raise either until you get a visual match.

If I lower the luminosity of the monitor, the shadow details dissapear there. While that sounds like an improvement, it isn't really, because it hides detail that is in the image. What I would like to achieve is for the monitor to show me everything that is in the image, and only throw away detail when it comes to softproofing (if the problem is caused by the printer's inability to print as fine luminosity details). And even "real" daylight won't show me the shadow details.

Quote from: rhahm
  1.  using Photoshop create a duplicate layer of your finished photo
  2.  make sure this is the top layer
  3.  set the blend mode of this duplicate layer to "Screen"
  4.  set the opacity of this layer to ~ 25-30%
  5.  print and be amazed

(this tip is credited to Matt Kloskowski from NAPP)

That seems to work really well, and definitely bring some details out in the picture which weren't visible before. I would still prefer to just softproof and see there what the print would look like, but in the interim this is most certainly a work-around I'll use. Thank you!!

Quote from: elliot_n
Work with a white canvas in Photoshop...

I'm afraid I don't follow you. It's not a general perception issue, it is the fact that there are details on-screen that are very close to invisible on the print. I don't think changing the canvas colour is going to change that. Am I missing a point here?

Quote from: walter.sk
This sounds like a good workaround, but why not complete the calibration process by matching the luminance of the monitor to the viewing situation first, as suggested by DigitalDog?  Until you have done that, you have not finished setting up your softproofing environment.  Once you have done that, you know that you can depend on more effective and accurate (never perfect, of course) softproofing.  I speak from experience.  It is really very, very reassuring to know that my hard work on images will produce consistent results.

I would prefer to do as you suggest. Hence my original post asking for help figuring out what to do. I don't want to reduce the luminosity of the monitor so much that it throws away detail - that would sorta defy the purpose of having a good monitor. And I can't see all details in the print regardless of how much light I throw at it.

So I'm still hoping there is a step in the softproofing setup I can complete that will be able to give me the best of both worlds, so to speak. A monitor that can show all the details in the file, and a softproof that can show me what the printer will print. That's the holy grail, innit?

Thanks again for all the input, and please keep it coming.
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digitaldog
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« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2012, 02:28:03 PM »
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What I would like to achieve is for the monitor to show me everything that is in the image, and only throw away detail when it comes to softproofing (if the problem is caused by the printer's inability to print as fine luminosity details). And even "real" daylight won't show me the shadow details.

You are calibrating for a match to the print with soft proof on, right?

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Andrew Rodney
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abiggs
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« Reply #10 on: November 20, 2012, 02:29:34 PM »
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In my experience 140cd/m2 is fairly bright, even for bright viewing environments. To put it very simply, a white document in Photoshop needs to equal the brightness and color of your paper you are printing on in the display environment. Otherwise everything else is going to be off. It's the first starting point and the most important one.
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Andy Biggs
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SunnyUK
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« Reply #11 on: November 20, 2012, 02:50:04 PM »
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You are calibrating for a match to the print with soft proof on, right?

That's what I would like to achieve, yes. Just to make sure I haven't overlooked something simple (which, given how new I am at this is entirely possible), these are the steps I went through:

1) calibrate monitor using NEC's software
2) profile printer using Colormunki's software
3) take a picture into Photoshop
4) setup the softproof to match the printer profile created in step 2
5) swiching softproof on. Noticing that there is shadow detail
6) printing picture
7) noticing that there is (almost) no shadow detail on the print, regardless of whether I watch it under my (not daylight) halogen lights or outside in overcast shade (the only light available at this time of the year in this country. Rain optional)

In my experience 140cd/m2 is fairly bright, even for bright viewing environments. To put it very simply, a white document in Photoshop needs to equal the brightness and color of your paper you are printing on in the display environment. Otherwise everything else is going to be off. It's the first starting point and the most important one.

I thought the starting point should be to make sure that the screen can show a full greyscale. In other words, if some of the dark steps blend together, the monitor is too dark. If some of the bright steps blend together, then the monitor is too bright. Is that incorrect?
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digitaldog
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« Reply #12 on: November 20, 2012, 02:52:15 PM »
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1) calibrate monitor using NEC's software

Right, but there's a lot of options in the SpectraView software. When you adjust the settings, you're doing so to match the print and the soft proof, NOT without the soft proof simulation right?
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Andrew Rodney
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SunnyUK
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« Reply #13 on: November 20, 2012, 03:24:26 PM »
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Right, but there's a lot of options in the SpectraView software. When you adjust the settings, you're doing so to match the print and the soft proof, NOT without the soft proof simulation right?

I don't understand this. The settings were about luminosity, gamma and colour. I didn't have a print and a soft proof at that stage. I simply plugged the colormunki in, got it working with SpectraView Profiler and asked it to do it's thing. It went through displaying a lot of grayscale patches and a fewer number of red/green/blue patches, measuring it, and then creating a profile.

Is it not the case that the softproof is meant to show the printer's ability on the calibrated monitor? Your words sounds as if I am meant to adjust the monitor to match the print, but if my printer has a smaller gammut than my monitor, then that wouldn't make sense.

...

I think I understand it. You're talking about the softproof functionality built into the SpectraView software so that the monitor itself can do softproofing, right? I'm talking about softproofing in Photoshop, without changing the monitorsetting between "normal" and "softproof". Am I wrong?
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Simon Garrett
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« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2012, 03:49:19 PM »
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If I lower the luminosity of the monitor, the shadow details dissapear there. While that sounds like an improvement, it isn't really, because it hides detail that is in the image.
That shouldn't happen.  If your monitor is correctly calibrated/profiled at a lower brightness setting, it should still be able to show the full tonal range (e.g at http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/black.php and http://www.lagom.nl/lcd-test/white.php).  I don't have any problem with the full tonal range at a brightness below 100cd/m2. 

Obviously the total dynamic range between black and white is narrower, as black stayed the same but you've reduced white.  But that should match the print better. 

You show a picture of your room lighting: what happens if you hold a piece of printer paper by the screen.  Does the paper look darker than the whites on the screen?  If so, try bringing up the room lights or lowering the screen brightness (and recalibrate). 

Nice picture of Whitby Abbey, by the way!
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digitaldog
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« Reply #15 on: November 20, 2012, 04:06:28 PM »
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I don't understand this. The settings were about luminosity, gamma and colour. I didn't have a print and a soft proof at that stage.

Back then to:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tutorials/why_are_my_prints_too_dark.shtml
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #16 on: November 20, 2012, 04:22:09 PM »
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This sounds like a good workaround, but why not complete the calibration process by matching the luminance of the monitor to the viewing situation first, as suggested by DigitalDog?  Until you have done that, you have not finished setting up your softproofing environment.  Once you have done that, you know that you can depend on more effective and accurate (never perfect, of course) softproofing.  I speak from experience.  It is really very, very reassuring to know that my hard work on images will produce consistent results.


hi walter


because the title says it all:      "My print is too dark - and I *have* calibrated and profiled"


yes, I read the books and the articles on profiling and calibrating

calibrated a Dell 24" high gamut whatever monitor with a Spyder Pro to a ridiculously low luminescence

and guess what?

the prints on my brand new Epson 3880 were way too dark!


damn - maybe if I had gone for that high end Nec or Eizo and the XRite stuff, or bought a hood, or worked under a blanket

to block out that ambient light, or wore my Ray Bans ...


then one day I was watching an episode of Photoshop TV and Matt K mentioned that he hated to work on a dull dark monitor

and uses this technique if wants to print something


I tried it and was blown away by my prints on the 3880


just trying to pass it on to others having this problem like I did


do an internet search on "Prints too dark" there are tons of people with this issue


I am not saying it is for everyone - but it works for me


I see this at my job all the time now, information flows around the net like wildfire and soon something is written in stone

there is more then one route to most destinations


just my 2 cents


cheers

rh
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Tim Lookingbill
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« Reply #17 on: November 20, 2012, 04:28:40 PM »
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Does the paper look darker than the whites on the screen?

I think his posted pic of his setup just answered your question.

His lighting is not bright enough to make a fair comparison even if the OP indicated it looked the same in direct sunlight. I can see shadow detail on the building (though noticeably dimmer and darker) on the print on my calibrated display.

But aside from that I'm surprised no one caught the difference between the blue to orange transition in the sky in his image on the display compared to the print which may point to an inaccurate printer profile.

SunnyUK, can you confirm the differences? Or is it that your photo you posted isn't that accurate. There's a big white gap on the display between the blue to orange gradation in the sky that isn't on the print.

SunnyUK, can you post a downsized for the web version of the original image of the Abbey so we can see if your display is showing shadow detail and that blue/orange gradation faithfully so we can rule out display calibration/profiling?
« Last Edit: November 20, 2012, 05:05:41 PM by tlooknbill » Logged
digitaldog
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« Reply #18 on: November 20, 2012, 05:01:28 PM »
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because the title says it all:      "My print is too dark - and I *have* calibrated and profiled"

The exercise of calibrating a display in no way means it's calibrated properly to match a print nor that the print viewing conditions are in sync (correct).

The best looking print you've ever seen in your life will look dark when viewed by too dim an illuminant!
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Andrew Rodney
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« Reply #19 on: November 20, 2012, 06:04:11 PM »
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Think the other way around:  My monitor is too bright.

It's the monitor that should match the print. If your printer / paper combination cannot get detail in the dark areas, then you should not see them in the monitor either when softproofing.

Anyway, softproofing is always an approximation. Besides brigthness, there are colors that you monitor can show outside of the print gamut (handled also by softproofing) and colors that can be printed which are outside of the monitor gamut (no solution for this so far)

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